The Trump administration intends to nominate Lucas Polakowski, a former officer at U.S. Strategic Command, to be the top civilian in the Pentagon’s program to counter weapons of mass destruction.
The White House announced its intent to nominate Polakowski on Wednesday for the post of assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs. Whoever serves in this post is the staff director for the Nuclear Weapons Council: the joint Pentagon-Department of Energy body in charge of nuclear weapons acquisition policy.
Polakowski is the former deputy director of the U.S. Strategic Command Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), and commander of the standing joint force headquarters for WMD elimination. He served more than 36 years in the Army, retiring as a major general in the reserves, before becoming a national security consultant.
If his nomination officially makes it to the Senate, is advanced by the Armed Services Committee after a hearing, and agreed to by the full upper chamber, Polakowski will replace Alan Shaffer, the deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment who has worn two hats since 2019, when Guy Roberts resigned as the permanent assistant secretary for nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs.
Polakowski would report to Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment and chair of the Nuclear Weapons Council. Those reporting up to Polakowski would include Drew Walter, the longtime House Armed Services Committee aide who left Capitol Hill last year to perform the duties of deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear matters.
The administration announced its intent to nominate Polakowski during a historical viral pandemic that, about six months before the U.S. presidential election, is still raging.
The Senate has been moving nominees, albeit slowly, and still has the 2021 budget to tackle. The upper chamber also may consider additional COVID-19 relief legislation this summer.